Redistricting Commission Develops Outreach Plan

Apr 12, 2021

After beginning training sessions on how to run government meetings,  citizens and lawmakers serving on the hybrid commission drawing Virginia’s next voting districts focused on public outreach and engagement in a public hearing Monday.

Julie Smith of the Department of Legislative Services told the commissioners that a new website was on its way, and that it should include a way for the public to subscribe to email updates on the commission’s work. She said an FAQ section would include questions about submitting comments, participating in meetings, and methods for contacting the commission members.

Commissioners spent a significant amount of time waiting for those who signed up to comment by mistake on Monday, when they had hoped to just listen in. Members of the public are also able to submit comments up to 24 hours before meetings.

The redistricting commission has 60 days from the receipt of Census data to draw US Congressional districts, pictured here.

Commissioners also discussed how they would advertise upcoming public meetings, as required by law.

Amigo Wade, the director of DLS, updated commissioners on how much money they had to spend on things like advertising or consultancies. The remaining first year appropriation of $665,172.51 and the second year’s appropriation of $1,600,500 totalled slightly over $1.7 million to use toward the redistricting efforts, he said. The commission has already spent money on software, technology, and advertising in for citizens to apply to become members of the commission.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 26th.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.